Pensions 101

After a lifetime of work, no one should have to retire in poverty. 

That’s where your pension comes in. 

Most BCGEU members have a pension promise: a guaranteed, predictable and reliable income after you stop working. 

Having a pension is like saving automatically - and efficiently - for retirement. 

Three quarters of BCGEU members are enrolled in the Public, Municipal and College Pension Plans. These public sector pension plans will provide guaranteed income in retirement. 

The plan you are enrolled in depends on your employer and collective agreement.  (If you are unsure which pension plan you might be enrolled in, click here to use our pension finder. By entering the name of your employer and clicking "find," you will find links to both your collective agreement and your pension plan.)

Pensions are deferred wages. 

Every payday, you defer a portion of your salary to make a contribution to your pension through an automatic payroll deduction. 

Your contribution is matched - or better - by your employer. For every $1 you put in, your employer contributes $1 or more. That’s a 100% return every payday for your retirement! 

Over your career, your pension contributions are working hard - for you. This delivers your pension promise.

A pension fund manager invests your retirement contributions in assets, such as company shares, bonds, infrastructure and real estate. 

Your money is invested responsibly. 

At retirement, your pension comes from contributions … but especially from investment returns. 

In fact, only one quarter of your pension payout comes from contributions. Three quarters is paid out from investment returns. 

Your actual pension amount is based on a formula that considers a percentage of your highest average salary and the number of years you contribute.

You can estimate your pension by using an online calculator. Click the "pension estimator" link on our website pages for the PublicMunicipal and College Pension Plans. 

BC's public sector pension plans are some of the best modelled in the world.

They are secure and fully funded. Each generation pays in advance for its own pension benefits. 

BC’s public sector plans form the fourth largest pool of savings in Canada, with over $120 billion in assets.

One in nine British Columbian's participate!

With over 500,000 pension plan participants, your investment risk is shared.

Your pension plan compares very favourably to typical costs for managing mutual funds found in RRSPs. On average, about ten times less.

Lower fees means higher benefits because more of your retirement savings are working for you.

Your retirement income is secure and predictable. A guaranteed income benefit for life. RRSP’s can’t promise that. 

As a union member, you have a voice: a board of trustees with equal employer and union representation to manage each pension plan. 

Most BCGEU members have a pension promise: a guaranteed income for life, after work.

Your pension is a big part of your union advantage.